How to make practicing your instrument more fun – Practice Chart 2.0

We’ve added a new practice chart!

Print this off at home or grab one at the school. Then hang it up in the entrance.
Off the Wall Practice Chart

Here are some quick tips for making it easier to practice:

  • Keep your instrument out in the open and in a public area like the living room.

    • Kids don’t really like to practice alone. Parents should sit with them or keep them company and give them encouragement while they’re practicing.
    • We find that pianos kept down in the basement don’t get played as much. Especially if they’re in a place you don’t regularly go. Buy some wall hooks for your guitar and hang it up on the wall so its out and you can easily pull it down without having to go open up your case and pull it out. Thats an extra chore before you even start practicing.
  • Set a timer or goal for number of repetitions

    • Setting a small goal like 10min every day is a good place to start. If its only 3 days a week, you’re less likely to build a habit, but if you do something everyday, it will become much easier after about 20-30 days.
    • Some students will just watch the clock, so if this is a problem, try repititions instead of time. Start with practicing each song once or five times and go from there. Your teacher should circle or highlight problem areas that you keep making mistakes. You’ll want to practice those troublesome spots at least ten to twenty times when you sit down.
    • Some parents have had success with young students that aren’t great at counting with using a bowl filled with 5 or 10 skittles or marbles. Every time they finish their song or whatever they needed to practice, they would pull out one of the skittles.
  • If you’re trying to build a habit, start with a small goal:

    • With brand new adult students that are especially busy and don’t feel like they have time to practice a lot, we’ll challenge them to just sit on the piano bench each day. They don’t HAVE to practice, but they usually realize they have time for one song. This is a good way to trick your brain into starting something larger by making the initial task seem small.
    • With kids that are starting out, we’ll ask them to play through their song once each day of the week. Then increase it from there the following week.
    • Practicing too much can actually cause you to burn out or skip the next day and get out of a routine. Learning an instrument is like a marathon, not a sprint. So practicing a smaller amount regularly is better than an hour irregularly.
  • Use a practice chart. Make it a visual reminder.

    • Creating a visual reminder that you need to practice is a huge help. There is so much going on in your head that anytime you can offload some of that, you’ll have more success.
    • We suggest attaching this practice chart to your fridge. Then you can use dinner time as a trigger to remind yourself to practice. When you finish eating and see that you haven’t checked off your practice for the day, it will help jog you to action.

Here is a practice incentive if you are motivated by sugar:

If you practice one through six days and turn in your practice chart, we’ll give you one skittle. If you practice all seven days though, we’ll give you SEVEN skittles at your next lesson!

Happy Halloween!

 

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